Buller District Council

High contamination puts Ngakawau recycling service at risk

2nd March, 2021

Failure to follow recycling guidelines is putting the recycling service in Ngakawau at risk of closing.

Smart Environment operations manager Alan Corbett said because people are not following recycling guidelines an unacceptably high amount of material is being sent to landfill instead of being recycled.

“In December 2020, more than one tonne of glass was sent to landfill from the Ngakawau recycling facility because people couldn’t be bothered to throw the various coloured glass in the right container “, he said.

He is urging people to separate materials as required and not dump waste outside the containers which “creates a horrible mess and contaminates recyclable materials”.

The amount of recycling collected shows this service is needed for the Ngakawau/Hector community. However, items can’t be recycled unless they are disposed of in the correct way.

According to council’s co-ordinator waste management Juliana Ruiz the high level of contamination forces Smart Environment to dispose of the recycling in landfills which creates extra costs.

“What we see defeats the purpose of providing these recycling containers resulting in significant extra costs to ratepayers putting the future of the facility at risk.

“Council’s budget for this service is not limitless. If we cannot operate the service within budget, we need to look at alternate options. If people comply with the guidelines, we will deliver an effective service within budget.”

Management and transportation costs of the facility costs around $8,000 per year. Part of this cost has been funded by the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

The situation is urgent Ms Ruiz explains and said the community needs to be part of the solution. “We can’t blame just tourists for this problem anymore. Everyone needs to follow the recycling guidelines and dispose their waste correctly.”

It is essential everyone follows these guidelines:

  1. Only plastics #1, #2 and #5 are accepted, ensure that they are thoroughly rinsed and clean.
  2. Only clean cardboard and paper that have no liquid residue or food contamination are acceptable.
  3. Aluminium tins and glasses must be rinsed and be without any food residue.
  4. Glass must be separated by colour green, brown and clear.
  5. Do not leave any recycling material outside of the container at any time. If the container is full, dispose of your glass at the Westport Transfer Station during opening hours. Do not leave material next to the container or surrounding areas.


For more information please contact:
Juliana Ruiz

Source:  Smart Environmental Ltd
Glass with high levels of contamination collected from the Ngakawau Recycling container
8 December 2020


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